By Jay Nunley, Key Accounts Coordinator
When someone asks me what they can do to lower their electric bill, I usually look for the measures with the lowest cost and least amount of effort first.
Then I’ll explain ways to save that may cost more but usually also make a bigger impact in the long run.
We’ve set up several displays in our lobby located in our office at 995 Mile 46 Road in Hooker to help members understand some common energy efficiency tactics.
One of the easiest, cheapest ways to stop air leaks and reduce heating and cooling costs is weatherstripping window seals and door jambs. Doors and windows account for about 20 percent of the air infiltration in most homes. Air leaks can waste a lot of your energy dollars. Whether leaks are letting hot air inside during the warmer months or letting in drafts during the cooler season, one of the quickest energy-and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weather strip all cracks and large openings to the outside. Air takes the path of least resistance, so you should aim to seal the larger openings first. Check the caulking around door and window frames and replace with new caulking if it is cracked or missing.
Several years ago, we promoted Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) over the traditional incandescent bulbs. Today, we encourage people to use light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Our lighting comparison display uses a 60-watt incandescent bulb on the bottom and three LED and one CFL bulb on the top. It shows that the energy used by all four bulbs on the top is less than the single bulb on the bottom.
While LEDs have come down in price, they are still sometimes more costly than other options. However, they do last longer than other types of bulbs. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace. LEDs use 25%–30% of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer than halogen incandescent bulbs. We encourage people to swap out older bulbs with LEDs as they burn out.
Lighting color comparison
The lighting color display shows the color temperature of light in kelvins. It describes where you might use a warm white to soft white bulb versus a cool to bright white bulb versus a natural to daylight bulb.
Duct sealing comparison
You can see the difference in sealing air ducts in your home with this display. Duct work accounts for about 15 percent of the air leakage in most homes. Your air ducts are one of the most important systems in your home, and if the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated they are likely contributing to higher energy bills. Your home’s duct system is a branching network of tubes in the walls, floors, and ceilings;
it carries the air from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner to each room. Ducts are made of sheet metal, fiberglass, or other materials. Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills, but you can reduce that loss by sealing and insulating your ducts. Insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost-effective. Existing ducts may also be blocked or may require simple upgrades.
Using gaskets on outlet and switch covers can help stop air leakage too. Using an expandable foam to seal around plumbing through walls is another cost-effective way to stop air infiltration.
The insulation comparison shows the difference between three common types of insulation, which are fiberglass, cellulose and foam. It explains ‘R-Value’ which indicates how well insulation resists the conduction of heat but doesn’t take into account air flow.
Set up an appointment
Energy efficiency demonstrations at TCEC’s office are available by appointment when calling 580.652.2418 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.